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Can Bradford Bulls be a real force again?


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I decided to stay back from this thread and wait for the usual bitter people and 'know nowt's' to pile in with their mixture of misconceptions, untruths and bile. 

And, boy, I haven't been disappointed 😁

Just a few observations.

There's obviously a whole narrative around the past decade that has been well-rehearsed on the forums - around a succession of hapless (and penniless) owners being appointed by the very person who now happens to own the club himself. The motives and long-term plans have yet to unfold on that as yet - but it certainly contributes to the sense of disconnect that myself and many, many others currently feel around the club.

Yet the Bulls can still pull in larger crowds that some so-called Super League clubs with all of their central funding and all the advantages that arise from exposure through Sky etc. FWIW I think it would be hard, if not impossible, to ever get back to the crowds of the late 90s again. Those days were a perfect storm of an incredible team, some equally incredible marketing from Peter Deakin (and others) and the shiny object syndrome of the brand new Super League brand that was (unlike some other clubs) fully embraced by the club.

That said, we pulled in 6500 for a League 1 play off, over 7000 for the (as it turned out, not so) 'final' game at Odsal and 10K+ for a Cup game against Leeds where season tickets didn't apply. Yes, bog-standard games are bumbling along at 4K or so, but I don't think there would be any problem with the club attracting around 7-8K in Super League, more if there was any actual 'success'. OK, not the same crowds as 1998, but certainly a healthy base.

This accusation of 'glory hunters' that gets thrown at the Bulls is clearly abject nonsense. Success, quite reasonably, will attract crowds - or it should do. Obviously not for Huddersfield or Salford - but they perhaps would be better employed trying to leverage success rather than being bitter about clubs that have done so?

Then, of course, we have the issues around the ground, the perennial elephant in the room. A millstone around the neck which means that it is unlikely that the Bulls will ever again be able to compete at the very top.

So, to cut to the chase with the question from the opening topic: Can the Bulls be a force again? No, not at the top level, unless a monied benefactor steps up, and if we've learned anything from the last decade, that's not happening. It's not as if that benefactor hasn't had plenty of opportunity!

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8 minutes ago, OriginalMrC said:

I never said Bradford were special, I gave my view on why I thought their fans deserved some success again

No, because if you think about it, Bradford may have got some half decent attendances but *where are they now*? It would have been better for Rugby league if they had never existed, seriously. Then only proper fans would have attended and probably gone to Huddersfield (a proper club) thus making Huddersfield dead popular. 
 

That’s why they should be expelled from the league. Now. 

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39 minutes ago, paulwalker71 said:

I decided to stay back from this thread and wait for the usual bitter people and 'know nowt's' to pile in with their mixture of misconceptions, untruths and bile. 

And, boy, I haven't been disappointed 😁

Just a few observations.

There's obviously a whole narrative around the past decade that has been well-rehearsed on the forums - around a succession of hapless (and penniless) owners being appointed by the very person who now happens to own the club himself. The motives and long-term plans have yet to unfold on that as yet - but it certainly contributes to the sense of disconnect that myself and many, many others currently feel around the club.

Yet the Bulls can still pull in larger crowds that some so-called Super League clubs with all of their central funding and all the advantages that arise from exposure through Sky etc. FWIW I think it would be hard, if not impossible, to ever get back to the crowds of the late 90s again. Those days were a perfect storm of an incredible team, some equally incredible marketing from Peter Deakin (and others) and the shiny object syndrome of the brand new Super League brand that was (unlike some other clubs) fully embraced by the club.

That said, we pulled in 6500 for a League 1 play off, over 7000 for the (as it turned out, not so) 'final' game at Odsal and 10K+ for a Cup game against Leeds where season tickets didn't apply. Yes, bog-standard games are bumbling along at 4K or so, but I don't think there would be any problem with the club attracting around 7-8K in Super League, more if there was any actual 'success'. OK, not the same crowds as 1998, but certainly a healthy base.

This accusation of 'glory hunters' that gets thrown at the Bulls is clearly abject nonsense. Success, quite reasonably, will attract crowds - or it should do. Obviously not for Huddersfield or Salford - but they perhaps would be better employed trying to leverage success rather than being bitter about clubs that have done so?

Then, of course, we have the issues around the ground, the perennial elephant in the room. A millstone around the neck which means that it is unlikely that the Bulls will ever again be able to compete at the very top.

So, to cut to the chase with the question from the opening topic: Can the Bulls be a force again? No, not at the top level, unless a monied benefactor steps up, and if we've learned anything from the last decade, that's not happening. It's not as if that benefactor hasn't had plenty of opportunity!

As opposed to the elephant being towed around the stock car track at Odsal 2004 ? 😉

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3 hours ago, Johnoco said:

That's true in general though, or at least, was. The fact that a behemoth like soccer isn't awash with Asian fans suggests it's not as easy as all that. Where growth might come from is the social side of it, 5 a side etc etc.

Asian we are obviously taking the Indian subcontinent here. It’s a strange one as there’s a significant fanbase in India (Messi and Ronaldo would get mobbed there, as Maradona did when 100k packed into a stadium for an appearance he made after opening an academy). I think they are more into watching than playing, while for the religion that is cricket it’s both. You do see quite a lot of Sikhs and Hindus at Anfield and Old Trafford. A previous poster suggested it’s easier for Asians to follow a big international club, and there may be a lot of truth to that. For instance, Man U, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Spurs etc. are international in outlook, which is easy for non locals to connect to. A more regional club (let’s say Norwich City, or a RL club), they have that parochial, local shop feel to them, so its harder for outsiders to feel part of. If you see someone wearing a Man U/Liverpool jersey in Sydney you wouldn’t think “they must be a Manc/Scouser”...but someone in a Norwich jersey (or Hull Kingston Rovers) you would be inclined to think they are from there.

 

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4 hours ago, Johnoco said:

I don't go because I don't trust the organisation and am reluctant to put my time and money into it after everything. It's nothing to do with glory hunting but trust. 

Congratulations by the way to Huddersfield, who have successfully avoided any glory hunters and kept their dedicated 3-4K following. Good stuff, you don't want new people following you after all.

 

Bradford also have a dedicated 3-4000 following, always have apart from a few years when you won trophies, but also like us that was a long time ago too now.

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6 hours ago, ShropshireBull said:

There´s also a bit of genetics going on here. Yes it´s a sterotype but there´s a reason rugby in NZ now seems dominated by island heritage lads . Rugby League doesn´t actively not target anyone throughout our history, bluntly because we can never afford to turn anyone away if we wanted to. 

Living here in Spain (Barca,Santander then Madrid) noticed alot of immigrants support the big teams wherever they live so they can have an identity that is easier to be a part of. Guess it´s why so many ´United´ fans have never lived near Manchester. If Bulls start winning I´d think you´d see more fans period. 

Think it was your comment here that I concurred with.

Also agree with your first paragraph. Some groups are better built (for want of a better phrase) for certain sports. The Pacific Islanders tend to be bigger boned and love running into people, so a collision based game will suit them down to the ground. A more wirey frame would suit a sport like cricket (football too). East Asians tend to be smaller so basketball is a less likely pursuit. 

There was an article posted on here about Aussie parents worried about the increasing number of Pacific Islanders at youth level as they were enormous for their age group and the other kids couldn’t compete. Vid also posted on here of a mini Lomu smashing everyone to pieces.

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3 minutes ago, OriginalMrC said:

Two things I've learned from this topic. 

Never say anything nice about Bradford and its fans 

Never say anything bad about Bradford and its fans

Watch about the subbuteo pitch? Is that fair game?

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23 hours ago, Johnoco said:

Aye, cos Halifax is like a mini Knightsbridge of course. 

Well,  compared to Bradford 😎

"Freedom without socialism is privilege and injustice, socialism without freedom is slavery and brutality" - Mikhail Bakunin

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35 minutes ago, DC77 said:

Think it was your comment here that I concurred with.

Also agree with your first paragraph. Some groups are better built (for want of a better phrase) for certain sports. The Pacific Islanders tend to be bigger boned and love running into people, so a collision based game will suit them down to the ground. A more wirey frame would suit a sport like cricket (football too). East Asians tend to be smaller so basketball is a less likely pursuit. 

There was an article posted on here about Aussie parents worried about the increasing number of Pacific Islanders at youth level as they were enormous for their age group and the other kids couldn’t compete. Vid also posted on here of a mini Lomu smashing everyone to pieces.

Yep and this long term is a huge problem for participation. So weight caps are how we will have to go if we don´t want the sport at junior level to die. Plus we know coaches are notoriously lazy for bigger= better and saves them from having to coach skill. 

Edited by ShropshireBull
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2 hours ago, DC77 said:

Asian we are obviously taking the Indian subcontinent here. It’s a strange one as there’s a significant fanbase in India (Messi and Ronaldo would get mobbed there, as Maradona did when 100k packed into a stadium for an appearance he made after opening an academy). I think they are more into watching than playing, while for the religion that is cricket it’s both. You do see quite a lot of Sikhs and Hindus at Anfield and Old Trafford. A previous poster suggested it’s easier for Asians to follow a big international club, and there may be a lot of truth to that. For instance, Man U, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Spurs etc. are international in outlook, which is easy for non locals to connect to. A more regional club (let’s say Norwich City, or a RL club), they have that parochial, local shop feel to them, so its harder for outsiders to feel part of. If you see someone wearing a Man U/Liverpool jersey in Sydney you wouldn’t think “they must be a Manc/Scouser”...but someone in a Norwich jersey (or Hull Kingston Rovers) you would be inclined to think they are from there.

 

I’m talking about Asians who live in Britain though and specifically Bradford.

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Lets not turn this into a Hudds or Salford vs Bulls.  We all have something in common: All our stadiums are woeful and hold every club back from where they should be.  

Giants need a 10k stadium to be regularly featured on Sky and create a good atmosphere but they are in that awful box.  Salford need a 6-7k stadium but again same problem and Bulls need to go to Widnes in the middle of the night and nick their stadium. 

It is why any money now or ever in the future from RFL has to go into infrastructure and not year to year costs. 

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Leeds always had a sizable Jewish population going back to the days of Leeds Parish Church the bulk of that clubs Support was from the Jewish Leylands area and the Irish Bank area  that was one of the reasons the Angican vicar disbanded the club . The Jewish community has always been involved in the sporting institutions of the city and when Leeds RL signed the great Wilf Rosenberg they were even more attracted to Headingley 

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 Soon we will be dancing the fandango
FROM 2004,TO DO WHAT THIS CLUB HAS DONE,IF THATS NOT GREATNESSTHEN i DONT KNOW WHAT IS.

JAMIE PEACOCK

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14 hours ago, Johnoco said:

I’m talking about Asians who live in Britain though and specifically Bradford.

I know you were, but the Asian diaspora is culturally closely connected to the motherland. So what happens in the Indian subcontinent tends to be reflected here. In India the big international clubs (from England and elsewhere) have a significant following, and that translates to here. I’ve seen/heard British Asians (non scouse) at Anfield. I know this is replicated among the other major clubs. Just this weekend gone there was a close up of a young Sikh girl sitting on her father shoulders celebrating Salah scoring for Liverpool at Norwich.  

The parochial aspect of RL makes it harder for non natives (and indeed anyone not from there) to connect to. It’s very much rooted in the identity of its own region. 

It always makes me laugh in football when the commentator in a game featuring a major club who are losing away from home says “their fans will have a long journey back to X”....a significant chunk aren’t from X. A RL club (and a regional football club) that comment would apply.

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17 hours ago, OriginalMrC said:

Two things I've learned from this topic. 

Never say anything nice about Bradford and its fans 

Never say anything bad about Bradford and its fans

Bradford (as a place) does tend to get a battering from people. Is it the most deprived city in England? It does have the UK media museum which looks good

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Science_and_Media_Museum

After sustained deprivation in the 1970s/80s Liverpool has made huge strides since then. Bradford doesn’t have the Beatles, Liverpool FC or a world class waterfront, but it can still learn some lessons in terms of development.

Bradford Bulls is a big time name in RL (it is for me anyway). RL cannot afford to lose them.

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4 minutes ago, DC77 said:

Is it the most deprived city in England?

Hull ranks as more deprived and seems to be the most deprived city.

Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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4 minutes ago, Tommygilf said:

The City of Culture has been pretty massive for Hull, especially in terms of regeneration of the Waterfront.

Indeed. Data I'm looking at seems to be from a couple of years ago so there may have been some change.

Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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59 minutes ago, gingerjon said:

Hull ranks as more deprived and seems to be the most deprived city.

Yep Hull has been on way more Police, Camera, Action TV shows - which I think is the model the ONS use these days for weighting.

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